Friday, September 28, 2007

On Bill O'Reilly

For those of you who don't know the name, O'Reilly is leading commentator on Fox News in America and a devout follower of all things a Fox News veteran ought to be. So, it probably didn't come as a great surprise when this antediluvian, sorry, in his own words "traditionalist" pundit this week displayed some of the most off-the-cuff, matter of fact racism you're ever likely to hear on air.

After visiting a famous restaurant, Sylvia's, in Harlem with the equally wrong-headed (but for different reasons, obviously) Rev Al Sharpton, O'Reilly recounted his experience to a number of radio talk shows. O'Reilly was charmed by the "very, very nice" and "tremendously respectful" staff and was shocked because he:

"couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks."

He was later pleased to report that:

"There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M-Fer, I want more iced tea.' You know, it was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb. People were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun. And there wasn't any kind of craziness at all."

What Ron Atkinson delivered in unfettered venom, O'Reilly pulls off with earnest obliviousness. How surprising that these blacks eat, not while swinging from the light fittings, but while sitting at the table using cutlery! O'Reilly later went on to claim that he was making positive observations on the American 'melting-pot'. But the tone of his words clearly suggests surprise at what he encountered and a clear implication that he had assumed the black population were less civilised and refined than white society. Whether Fox will act is doubtful. I sometimes wonder whether it is time well spent arguing with people of O'Reilly's age in the hope that they might change their view. Whatever, he is clearly someone out of touch with the society on which he is expected to commentate.


At 8:06 pm , Blogger Irving Washington said...

Hello there. Just popped by from CiF.

Thanks for bringing that to my attention. That really is just extraordinarily depressing/incredible/frightening, although given what an absolute twat O'Reilly's proved himself to be, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.

Nice site :-)


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